From: Elizabeth A. Kennedy, Associated Press
Published December 6, 2006 12:00 AM

Somalis Continue to Be Displaced by Flooding

ARARE VILLAGE, Somalia -- Over 40,000 people have been displaced in the southern Somalia district of Jamame because of flooding caused by heavy rains and the Juba river bursting its banks, an U.N. food agency official said.

Floods hit Jamame in the past 10 days and the U.N. food agency has delivered 1,170 metric tons (about 1,300 tons)of food, said Penny Ferguson, spokeswoman for the agency. The agency will continue providing aid to Jamame until February.

Residents of Arare, a village where people displaced by the flooding have camped, say that it has not rained in the past three days. Most people in Arare, lush as a result of the heavy rains, have arrived in the past six days after being displaced by flooding, Ferguson said.

Since heavy rains pounded many parts of eastern African starting in October, the death toll from floods and related waterborne diseases is 230 in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, according to the World Food Program.

The relief effort in Somalia is complicated by the absence of an effective central government. An Islamic movement controls most of southern Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu. A U.N.-backed transitional government has been unable to assert its authority beyond the western Somalia town of Baidoa.

Abdi Nur Mohamed Dedud said he came to the camp at Arare after trying to stop water entering his home.

"We were working all night. It was 2 o'clock in the morning and when we put the sandbags down, the water would rise above them," he said.

"Everybody ran with their children. The water moved faster than people," Dedud said. "It was crisis after crisis. This is worse than the drought," he said, referring a drought earlier this year that aid agencies had described as the worst Somalia has seen in a decade.

Abdullah Musa, a father of five aged between 4-10 years old, said, "The water was coming into our houses. Everything was washed out."

People could be seen wading through waist-high flood waters about a kilometer (a mile) away. Houses could be seen submerged to their corrugated iron roofs.

Source: Associated Press

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